Home > Friends, Love > whole

whole

today
i had lunch
with a friend
who began as
a colleague

as we parted
ways today,
with two hugs
(one, in case
it’s another year
before we meet again,
and another in
congratulations
for the daughter
he’ll soon meet),
i remembered
a post I meant to write
two years ago
after he told me
about his wife’s
troubles
getting insurance
companies to cover
adequate prosthetics

and about how
she wept with joy
and something
much bigger, and
more indescribable
(at least, in a crappy
blog poem), when
she watched the
end of how to train your dragon

and about how
some people
would say they couldn’t
talk to her after they learned
she had prosthetics,
because it made
them uncomfortable

and about how
those prosthetics
meant, to him,
that she had
lived

i told him
then how i’d
once heard a
radio personality
tell a listener,
“it must be hard,
being other than
whole!”

the guy didn’t mean
anything mean
by it.
i knew
he probably
actually meant
“it must be hard,
having an
alternative
limb configuration!”

(is it?)

but the words
he actually said
went tumbling
through my mind
for days,
and months,
and weeks,
and years

the whole
“whole”
premise
punched
my heart

“but don’t you know,”
i told the radio personality,
though he couldn’t hear me,
“that listener is whole!
the fact his ‘whole’
is configured
differently
from yours
does not
somehow
make him
part of a
person!”

as i thought
today of that post
i meant to write,
i thought, too,
of the light
in big j’s eyes
as he spoke of
his wife
and his soon-to-be
newborn daughter

and i thought
how i only know
his wife from
a handful of words
and the light in his eyes

but
that light–
oh, that light!

i wish
i could shine
it here, so that
you could see it
for yourself, and
feel how “whole”
is not
in how
our limbs,
or our minds,
are configured,
but in our
living,
loving,
laughing
as we can
with the configurations
we do have

in seeing
prosthetics
not as loss, but,
perhaps,
life that
wasn’t lost
and instead
shines on
so bright
it can even
be seen
reflected
through
someone
else’s eyes
though its
source
shines
bright
from
afar

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Categories: Friends, Love Tags: , ,
  1. November 11, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Amen.

  2. November 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Wonderful.

  3. November 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    This might just be my favorite blog post I’ve read all year.

  4. November 11, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    A powerful and beautiful truth. Thank you.

  5. November 12, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Beautiful and wonderful and so, so heartrending. I wish you all the love and light in the world.

  6. November 12, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Powerful stuff.

  7. November 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    As a retired special ed. teacher, I always liked to say that my “kids” weren’t “learning disabled” – that SOCIETY was disabled and that “my kids” simply learned “differently” (like most of us) and were lucky enough to have a “different teacher” who understood that..I don’t know your former co-worker, but from your description of how much his loves (and totally accepts his wife), he seems like a lovely, beautiful man…..

    • November 14, 2015 at 9:40 am

      He is lovely. He reminds me of my brother-in-law in how it’s not necessarily immediately apparent. My first impression of him was that he was highly capable and somewhat sardonic. The longer we worked together, the more I heard asides revealing so much beneath that. I liked him from the moment I met him, and came to like him more and more the more I learned about him. It seems funny now that I should ever have seen him as only part of what all I know him now to be. 🙂

  1. March 19, 2016 at 4:31 am

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